June 23, 2017

Iraq, US in talks to keep American troop presence after IS

06 May 2017, 02:24 | Clarence Schmidt

Clarion Christian Militia Celebrates in Reclaimed Iraqi City Matt Cardy Getty Images by Breitbart News3 May 20170 3 May 2017 3 May 2017

Clarion Christian Militia Celebrates in Reclaimed Iraqi City					Matt Cardy  Getty Images			by Breitbart News3 May 20170		3 May 2017		3 May 2017

Iraqi army soldiers and pro-government fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units, commonly known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha'abi, have made sweeping gains against the Takfiri elements since launching the operation to retake Mosul.

They will join troops pushing into the Old City area from the south. Government forces launched a major offensive to recapture Mosul, the last major urban stronghold of Isis in Iraq, in October.

Only two months ago, the militants would be firing 200 rockets or mortars at Iraqi forces in Mosul on any given day, Browning said, but in the past two days it dropped to about 30.

The logic reflects concerns that a premature withdrawal from Iraq at the end of 2011, initiated by President George W. Bush under the 2008 Status of Forces Agreement between the US and Iraqi governments, created a political vacuum that drove members of the country's minority Sunni population into the arms of terror networks like the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq, ISIS's predecessor.

The denial followed comments by U.S. and Iraq officials in the Associated Press which said that United States secretary of defence James Mattis was now in talks with Abadi to maintain a "modest" USA military presence in Mosul after the defeat of IS.

A few days after the 82nd's deployment, the Trump administration announced that it would cease disclosing information about the scope and nature of future USA troop deployments in both Iraq and Syria, citing operational security and "tactical surprise". The forces include troops training Iraqi forces, coordinating airstrikes and ground operations, and special forces operating on the front lines.

USA forces were aware of their location and movements, he added, but did not interact with them in any way.

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A wounded man was evacuated by Iraqi forces along the Tigris near Mosul on Thursday.

"We believe there are 3,000 to 4,000 ISIS fighters in Raqqah, including foreign fighters and various leadership figures", Dorrian said.

Al-Abadi said that the American troops will be advisers who will help Iraq's security forces maintain "full readiness" for any future security challenges.

The move does not mean that the numbers of troops in Iraq and Syria will change, "nor does it change the process by which we will manage those forces", said Davis. Iraq and Iran also share a religion, a long border and in some cases, national interests in the region.

After a territorial victory, Iraqi and US-led coalition officials have warned of the potential for IS to carry out insurgent attacks in government held territory.

"Our support to the government of Iraq is going to remain the same type of relationship that we continued with them throughout the [ISIS] campaign", he told reporters during a briefing from Baghdad.

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